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Book Title: The Waverly Novels: Waverly|
The author of the book: Walter Scott
ISBN 13: 9781434497246
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 935 KB
Edition: Wildside Press
Date of issue: November 5th 2007
Read full description of the books The Waverly Novels: Waverly:Waverly, or 'tis Sixty Years Since can be an infuriating book. Even those accustomed to the leisurely movement of 19th century prose will find its style not only wordy but also occasionally infelicitous, its plot not only meandering but also digressive. It takes at least a quarter of the book—-perhaps a third—-to get the plot going, and I must admit that one comic character in particular--the Baron Bradwardine, who continually spouts Latin tags, lecturing all and sundry on the minutiae of family history and heraldry—was almost enough, all by his aristocratic self, to make me abandon the book.
And yet . . . when we get to the Highlands, things start to open up. The scenery and tableaux vivants—from Donald Bean Lean lurking in his robber cavern, to the bonny Flora MacIvor harping and singing on a height near a highland waterfall--are thrillingly gothic, delightfully romantic; yet, as our young hero Edward Waverly—a bit of a Quixote—encounters the people of this magnificent landscape, the reader discovers—as Waverly also discovers--that even the best of them are deeply affected by politics, and that most of them are incapable of making a decision without considerable political calculation.
It is this political consciousness that makes Waverly--and all the Scott novels that came after--a unique contribution to the development of the form. He is commonly considered the first historical novelist because--unlike Mrs. Radcliffe, "Monk" Lewis and others--he uses the past for more than exotic locales, and establishes his narratives firmly in time, with characters who exhibit contemporary manners and participate in historical events. All of this is true, although I think it could be argued that a few earlier novels--Clara Reeve's The Old English Barron, Godwin's St. Leon, and, most particularly, Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent (set "eighteen years since," before Ireland's Constitution of 1782)--make good attempts in this direction. But it is Scott's profound understanding of politics--particularly Scottish politics--and his precise delineation of how those politics often inform and sometimes determine even the simplest actions, that enabled him to combine a lawyer's realism with a poet's love of atmosphere, creating from their union a distinctly new kind of novel.
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Sir Walter Scott was born on August 15, 1771 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Scott created and popularized historical novels in a series called the Waverley Novels. In his novels Scott arranged the plots and characters so the reader enters into the lives of both great and ordinary people caught up in violent, dramatic changes in history.
Scott's work shows the influence of the 18th century enlightenment. He believed every human was basically decent regardless of class, religion, politics, or ancestry. Tolerance is a major theme in his historical works. The Waverley Novels express his belief in the need for social progress that does not reject the traditions of the past. He was the first novelist to portray peasant characters sympathetically and realistically, and was equally just to merchants, soldiers, and even kings.
Central themes of many of Scott's novels are about conflicts between opposing cultures. Ivanhoe (1819) is about war between Normans and Saxons. The Talisman (1825) is about conflict between Christians and Muslims. His novels about Scottish history deal with clashes between the new English culture and the old Scottish. Scott's other great novels include ,i>Old Mortality (1816), The Heart of Midlothian (1819), and St Ronan's Well (1824). His Waverley series includes Rob Roy (1817), A Legend of Montrose (1819), and Quentin Durward (1823).
Scott's amiability, generosity, and modesty made him popular with his contemporaries. He was also famous for entertaining on a grand scale at his Scottish estate, Abbotsford.
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